dog digging in snow
In spite of updates to the traditional marketing funnel, it still only provides a limited glimpse into customer behavior PHOTO: OakleyOriginals

Every marketer's goal is to design satisfying customer interactions for every touchpoint consumers have with their brands. 

They've updated the classic Awareness-Interest-Desire-Action model of marketing funnel to include segments for customer loyalty or retention, or an arrow back to the top of the funnel signifying the repeating nature of the customer lifecycle. 

But in spite of this evolution, the classic marketing funnel provides only a rudimentary glimpse into customer behavior. 

Customer Journey Maps Follow Every Step of the Customer Lifecycle

Marketers are better off integrating customer personas with journey maps. These maps offer insight into what each customer is doing, thinking, feeling, experiencing at each stage of the customer lifecycle. 

These customer journey maps are invaluable to customer experience strategy — they provide a blueprint that should rightfully stand at the core of an enterprise’s marketing efforts.

To implement journey maps that are useful for all executable components of a CX strategy, begin by defining personas. 

Personas, compiled through customer data, research and observation, are representative profiles designed to convey the behaviors, goals, wants, needs and even the frustrations of each type of customer the business interacts with. 

Each persona is then connected to one or more customer journey maps in order to delineate the details of that customer type’s experience as they progress through their relationship with the brand, and to recognize those specific brand touchpoints where calculated marketing tactics should be most effective.

A Persona Mapping Framework

Here is a recommended framework for mapping a persona onto a customer journey map:

1. Stages

What precise stages does this customer pass through on their journey? This likely covers the progression from initial awareness of the brand, to selecting a product or service, to being a user, to becoming a brand advocate and purchasing again as the customer lifecycle comes full circle.

2. Thoughts

Now that we know the stages of this customer’s journey, what are the most pertinent thoughts going on in this customer’s mind at each stage? What key questions and common objections does this customer have before moving forward with the brand, and what are the best methods for helping them overcome hurdles?

3. Actions

What actions, relevant to the journey, is this customer performing at each stage? What primary and secondary goals do those actions seek to address, and how can the customer experience support their actions and move them past any roadblocks?

4. Feelings

What are this customer’s feelings, both positive and negative, at each stage of the customer journey? What causes those feelings to evolve over the course of the journey, and how do specific customer experiences impact those feelings?

5. Experiences

What are the three most important experiences for this customer, and how does their importance change as they advance through every stage? Considering the needs of this customer at every stage and the brand’s goals, what should those experiences be?

6. Opportunities

Which measurements best represent successful advancement to the next stage of the customer lifecycle for this customer? How should messaging and content evolve and be tailored for each stage, and which assets should remain constant?

Knowing Your Customers, At Every Stage

The mapping process produces a highly detailed view of every customer type. Brand marketers can use this as their blueprint for designing targeted, customized marketing strategies and campaigns. 

Marketers can and should refer to these customer profiles at every stage and know the goals, questions and challenges each customer is thinking about then and there. They can know the actions customers are taking, and the gateways they must pass through to move through the stages. They can anticipate the emotions each customer is feeling, and know the messaging and content they are absorbing.

Leveraging these rich insights, marketers can take full advantage of these personas and journey maps to execute customer experience campaigns with precision, propelling customers towards advocacy and long-lasting brand relationships.